Emilia Romagna. A unique region with one heart and two souls.
In these last 5 years, I spent some of my time to stroll around Romagna, where I live, just following my curiosity and my passions, food, wine and history, mainly.
I live here, in Romagna, the Eastern part of this region, and this place has so many histories to tell, so many as I will never live enough to tell.
Along the Via Emilia: discovering Bologna
But Emilia Romagna is more than this. It stands in a plain area, there were once the Adriatic sea covered everything, before the barbarians people and then the Romans decided it was a place to stand and live.
The via Emilia, a very important main road, runs across the region, linking the Adriatic sea cities (like Rimini and Ravenna) to the other towns, till the Norther part of Italy towards the city of Milan.
Bologna, or Bononia, the original name, is the capital of Emilia Romagna. A city founded by an Etruscan king, following a very mysterious legend.
The Etruscan king Fero, coming from Ravenna and landed in the plains between the rivers Aposa and Ravone, began to build huts in that land unknown but full of vegetation and in an excellent geographical position. The village expanded and Fero had a bridge built to connect the two sides. One day, however, Aposa, a lover of Fero, was overwhelmed by a flood of the river while he was reaching the house of Fero by hidden ways. Since then the stream took the name of the woman, Aposa. The village grew and Fero decided to protect it with a wall. During work, on a very hot summer day, the daughter of Fero handed her father a water container on condition that Fero gave his name to the city. Fero consented and kept his promise; from that moment the city took the name of the daughter, Felsina.
The name of Bononia came later so as the history of this precious and wise town, the first known University in Europe, created around the XI st century.
Millions of students along the ages, made their lives here and studied here, before spreading their knowledge around Europe.
Today, together with a group of selected European Tour Operators, I will experience Bologna by bike.
Bologna by bike: enjoy the town in a different way
I must be honest: when Thomas Randi, head of Slowbike Tourism, contacted me a few months ago, asking me to be in this tour, I was completely enthusiast. Didn’t’ even think about biking again after years of complete inactivity.
It was a way to visit some unexplored parts of Emilia Romagna, with a different approach. A new challenge!
We arrive in the morning at the headquarter of Bike in Bo. This new company organises tour bikes in the center town. The aim is to visit the town in a quicker way, exploring even the most uncommon spots with a professional guide.
Bologna center is huge. If you arrive at the railway station, you will need to walk 20 minutes at a good feet, to reach Piazza Maggiore, center town.
Biking is for sure the best solution. You have the chance to choose your personal itinerary. The staff will advice you through their many many proposals. Bologna la Grassa (Bologna the fat, so it was said once) because this town offers so many suggestions.
Art and culture with its museums, the Porticos, the mix between old and new (the Mambo area for exemple, full of street bar and places to go in the evening); Food, just visit the old market in the Quadrilatero, with its ancients stalls, full of colors, to taste the real Mortadella di Bologna and a hand made dish of Tortellini; the night movida with the University zone, via Mascarella, its jazz clubs, the theatres and the club concerts; the several exhibitions in old palaces but also in new contemporary spaces.
If you do not trust yourself on a bike, do not worry, the staff will advise you before your arrival so that you will find the bike that fits you.
Today we will use citybikes, very light and comfortable. Our itinerary is a classic one and will touch the best historical key points of the town. Virginia, our lovely guide, will lead us.
Even if there not so many cicling paths, biking Bologna is very simple and safe. You can stop where ever you like, to take photos, visit one of the many museums in town or just have a coffee in one of the nice bar of the center, without parking problems.
I lived in this town two years during the University time and still today I discovered spots I had never seen.
Biking a town can be wonderful, if you have the right company and the right guide! Let’s yourself have a try. You won’t regret it!
Disclosure: this post was written during Slowbike Tour. I would love to thank Thomas Randi to let me in and make me live this experience and all the partners of the Slowbike Tourism Network.
This tour is a part of Slow Bike Tourism itineraries. If you want to visit Emilia Romagna by bike, please check www.slowbiketourism.com
If you want to bike Bologna, contact Bikeinbo staff here (www.bikeinbo.it).